Updated: Aug 5, 2019
Quinoa is everywhere these days, but it was just hitting the scene when I was in college. My roommates and I would eagerly order this trendy, healthy grain when dining out- it was so exotic! I chuckle every time I think about ordering “kee-NO-ahh” as 19 year olds at Austin restaurants. The waiters must have gotten a kick out of us know-it-all sorority girls and our mispronunciations. Today, I know both how to pronounce quinoa correctly and prepare it deliciously in this simple and tasty Latin salad. I prefer cooking with red quinoa when I can find it- the color is fantastic and the grains have a little more texture. Of course, white quinoa would be a perfectly yummy substitution. This salad makes a great picnic or cookout offering. It‘s better prepared ahead of time and is tasty served warm, room temp, or cool... the perfect dish to bring to your next summer pot luck! You can have this salad as a hearty stand alone grain-centric entree (quinoa is packed with protein), but it made a perfect pairing for fish tacos the other night. It’s a versatile and crowd pleasing side for any main course! The combo of colors and textures make for a beautiful dish as well. Throw a minced jalapeño in if you’d like more kick, but I like how mild, fresh, and simple the flavor of this recipe is as written. Feature this fabulous salad at your next fiesta- you’re gonna be a big fan!
prep time: 10 min. cook time: 20 min. serves: 8
1 cup red quinoa
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for finishing
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 ears of corn, husked and silks removed
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Cook the quinoa according to package directions (usually 12-15 minutes) and fluff with a fork. Set it aside while you prepare the rest of the salad (1 cup dried quinoa will yield two cups cooked). In the bottom of a large bowl, add the lime juice, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking to combine. Meanwhile, set a grill for medium heat (or carefully use a gas kitchen burner set on low heat) and place the corn directly on the grates (turning every 2-3 minutes) until it is slightly charred on all sides. Cut the kernels from the cob and add them to the bowl with the lime vinaigrette. Add the cooked quinoa, beans, tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and the feta and toss to combine. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Drizzle the salad with more olive oil and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold. Will keep for 3 days covered in the fridge.